Monday, April 28, 2008

Two major papers focus on SOPHIE

Been away. So back with lots to note. Important coverage in two leading broadsheets:

Goths' blackest day, UK - 25 Apr 2008

On the social networking site Bebo, there's a group called grungers-should-die,
which sets out its mission statement as follows: "Join this band if u think
grungers / goth should die ... tell us some story about u bashing some
On the comment wall, a girl has obliged: "fuckin bashed a grunger
the uva day innit."
Over on Myspace, there is a profile for a group called
SOPHIE, illustrated with a photograph of a smiling young woman with dreadlocks
and facial piercings, wearing a vest with a skeleton on it.
She is Sophie
Lancaster, the 20-year-old beaten to death by two teenage boys in a park in
Lancashire last summer. Sophie died because of the way she looked. She was
killed trying to protect her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, who had already been
knocked unconscious by the boys.
She wasn't into labels, but others described
her as a goth, or a grunger. The girl who called 999 about the attack said the
couple were "bashed" for being "moshers". The site is a memorial to her short
life, and aims "to work towards a more tolerant, less violent society"....

They visit the WndyHouse in Leeds and intrview loads of people including Sophie's mum and the famous Goth Bus couple.

Manwhile at The Times Richard Morrison's article advises donaing to SOPHIE:
Whitby Gothic Weekend is a lesson in British tolerance
Times Online, UK - 25 Apr 2008

They are an endearing bunch. In spite of their strenuous efforts to project
themselves as Satanic ghouls, corpse-botherers and insatiable transsexual
deviants, it's quite clear that none would harm a fly. Indeed, one main function
of Whitby Gothic Weekend is to be a confidence-boosting tribal gathering for
people who are often targets of abuse or worse in their own towns.
mutual support is needed, after the murder last year of Sophie Lancaster. She
was the 20-year-old kicked to death by teenagers when she came to the aid of her
boyfriend, who was being beaten up. The thugs, it seems, picked on them just
because they were dressed as Goths. By all accounts Sophie was a caring girl who
simply wanted to express her individuality by dressing the way she did - a
quintessential Goth, in other words. Unfortunately she ran into a different sort
of tribe: a gang of feral youths, bereft of morality or conscience, who
inflicted violence for fun - and whose supporters sniggered at the dead girl's
mother in the subsequent court proceedings.
So in Whitby at 11.30am today,
as the centrepiece of Gothic Weekend, a memorial bench will be dedicated to
Sophie, who attended several Whitby gatherings. Donations from Goths have paid
for it. But I'd like to commend a separate fund, set up by her family and
friends. Called SOPHIE, meaning Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance
Everywhere, it will use donations to further those laudable aims. See for details.
We talk a lot, usually
disapprovingly, about “tribal mentality”. But after 50,000 years it's probably
too deeply ingrained in the human psyche to be erased. Instead, we should be
encouraging young people to gravitate to tribes that bring joy to themselves
without harming or antagonising others. The Whitby Gothic Weekend is the epitome
of that. The Goths have fun and supply a bizarre three-day fashion parade, the
townsfolk smile benignly, and the pubs do a roaring trade. That's Britain at its
tolerant best.

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